As the sun set over the South American jungle-scape, great flocks of bats crowded the skies over a stony ruin deep in the forest. Three figures sat around a granite table lined with a woolen blanket and clay bowls. Hulking furry beasts stuffed into evening dresses and golden jewelry, the bat mothers had gathered to discuss territorial boundaries. Hog-Nose's fleshy nostrils twitched.
"Vampiras, your perfume is intoxicating"
"Thank you, dear Hog-Nose. Your bangles are simply to die for" the sinister flash of her elongated fangs didn't escape Hog-Nose's beady black eyes.
"And Fruit-Eater, the refreshments you've procured for us are lovely. I appreciate that you have accommodated our carnivorous diets, I know you find it distasteful"
"Anything for my dearest sisters." Fruit-Eaters gaze lingered for far too long. Hog-Nose's stomach sank. It was all too easy to see what was coming. She spoke up.
"Pleasantries aside, we should discuss why we gathered here. Vampiras I understand you have grievance-"
"I simply want what is rightfully mine! Why should my children scrabble over the empty plains and the fruit eaters get the forests to themselves? The trees are clotted with warm blooded beasts, and cool damp places to squeeze into-"
Fruit-Eater slammed a leathery fist on the table, toppling a bowl of mosquitoes.
"Your children spread disease! Your filthy hemovorism would upset the precious balance of the forests! If you would simply change-"
"A change that would take millions of years! I cannot simply stop drinking of blood! Fruit does not grow in the dry lands, only hoofed prey! Hog-Nose, tell her."
"Well, my own children feed on the plentiful insects. Perhaps-"
"Mosquitoes!" Fruit-Eater interjected "You eat hemovores yourself! Careful, or you will become as wretched as she."
Vampiros pointed a long clawed finger across the table at her sisters
"I knew you could not see reason. That is why I have had my children attach themselves to the supporting pillars of this ruin. Concede the forest, or I will drop this stone upon you!"
Fruit-Eater gasped, Hog-Nose merely sighed.
"You cannot kill us. You know we are immortal Vampiras, just as you are."
"But I can trap you here for centuries, while my children usurp yours."
Fruit-Eater grinned. "You could sister, if you could stay awake long enough! I dosed the wretched blood I brought you with frog venom. It cannot kill you, but it will paralyze you. Your body will lie motionless while it repairs itself.I'm surprised you are conscious even now."
Hog-Nose's brow furrowed. "I took the liberty of exchanging all the bowls you brought with food I had gathered myself."
"Traitor! You would poison us both and move your own children from the dark of the caves!"
"No! It was done to avoid a situation exactly such as this! The two of you revel in dramatics like children. If you don't stop this crazed play acting, one of your species will die out. Not from malnourishment or disease, but negligence! You have to see-"
Vampiras leapt from her seat and unfurled her great wings. "I have heard enough poisoned words from the mouth of traitors! Farewell, sisters, and good riddance!" A barely audible clicking
emitted from the back of her throat, and the floor beneath them began to quake.
Fruit-Eater grabbed Vampiras 'round the neck. "You mad fool! You'll be trapped here with us, I'll be sure-"
The stone walls tumbled down with a great sundering roar. The storming den of crumbling rock filled the jungle for what seemed like hours, then fell silent as quickly as it came. The only sound that remained was the frantic screeching of bats.
Tapir was jostled from her sleep by a furry clawed hand.She jumped at the sight of the beastly silhouette before her. Her groggy brain reeled in fear, then slowly recognition dawned on her. It was Hog-Nose. She was covered in a layer of dust, a tattered cocktail dress, and too many bruises and scrapes to count.
"What happened to you?" Tapir rubbed at her still blurry eyes.
"Family" Hog-nose let the word hang ominously in the night air.
"Your sisters tried to kill each other again?"
"C'mon. Let's get you cleaned up." She looked at the tattered linen draped around her bat friend's shoulder.
"Shame about the dress. It was nice. We'll have the monkeys steal you a new one. It's the least we owe you for playing nurse-maid to those psychos." Tapir wrapped a stocky arm around Hog-Nose's waist, and the bat let out an exhausted sigh.
"That would be nice."